Resources > Application Packet > Exchange visitor (J-1) visa
Visa interviewPDFReturn
After being accepted to a BridgeUSA J-1 Exchange Visitor by a designated sponsor and issued Form DS-2019 and SEVIS ID, prospective exchange visitors will apply for a J-1 visa at a US embassy or consulate (Canadians apply for J-1 status at a US port of entry).
A personal interview is a crucial step for the US Department of State in determining visa eligibility. After being accepted to BridgeUSA (J-1 visa) EVP by FUSIA, prospective J-1 interns should apply for their nonimmigrant visa in the J-1 intern category from a US embassy or consulate abroad. To apply, complete Form DS-160, schedule an visa interview appointment, pay the nonimmigrant visa MRV fee and SEVIS fee, and then appear in person for a visa interview.
Preparation. A visa interview requires extensive preparation and practice. While waiting for acceptance to BridgeUSA (J-1 visa) EVP, participants should take some to gather the required documents and answers to the questions that will be asked when completing Form DS-160. Also, check for specific directives and wait times for interview appointments from your corresponding embassy or consulate. Original proofs are generally required for the visa interview.

• Ensure that your program period will take place at least 2-3 weeks after the earliest appointment available
• Plan ahead for your trip, review the sample Form DS-160, and Form DS-160 instructions from us
• Gather the answers and required documents, including a qualified photo ahead of time
- Procedures vary by location. - check out your US embassy or consulate for their procedures

Application. After paying the necessary program fee in full, participants will be issued the SEVIS ID and be sent Form DS-2019 (original) via UPS. Begin your visa application process once your SEVIS ID becomes available.

• Complete Form DS-160 online and then generate a Confirmation Page and save the PDF to your desktop
• Upon receipt of your Form DS-2019 (original) from us, check for errors and sign in blue ink
• Whether your SEVIS fee is paid via FUSIA or on your own, check for errors and upload a copy to your panel for our records
• Register an account and complete the USTRAVELDOCS profile
• Pay the nonimmigrant visa MRV fee
• Wait for about 24-48 business hours to activate your 19-digit Virtual Account Number (VAN) after payment
• Schedule your appointment

Interview. Prepare for your visa interview and confirm that you have all required documents handy at least 3 days prior to your interview appointment. On your scheduled interview day, attend the interview appointment with a small plastic folder and document. Bring some cash with you in case your photo needs to be retaken and/or the reciprocity fee is required. If your visa is approved, the officer will retain your passport for a few days.

• Temporarily surrender your smart phone at the security checkpoint and be fingerprinted
• Submit DS-2019 | DS-7002 | DS-160 receipt | SEVIS receipt | passport | photo | appointment letter to the first window
• Be seated - you may asked to read through Know Your Rights booklet
• Attend the interview and present additional documents upon request
• If approved, confirm the passport delivery arrangements (pick up in person, if possible); if denied, click HERE
• Upon receipt of your passport, immediately check for errors - Check out delivery status
• Find out whether the two-year rule applies to you
On the scheduled date and time of your interview appointment, go to the US embassy or consulate with the required supporting documentation. Original or certified copy civil documents and certified translations (if applicable) are generally required. Check out your embassy or consulate for preparation instructions.

Mandatory documents. The applicant is responsible to bring all required original or certified copy civil documents to the visa interview. Failure to bring all required documents to the interview may cause delay or denial of the visa.  

Form DS-2019 (original) signed in blue ink and in US date format
DS-7002 signed by all parties
DS-160 receipt bring the right one if you have filled more than one time
SEVIS receipt download from your FUSIA online panel if paid via FUSIA
Current passport valid through program end
☐ Old and other passport(s)
Photo bring cash in case retaking is required
Appointment letter

Crucial. Your original documents (except your passport upon a successful interview) will be returned to you when the interview has been completed. Any photocopies provided may be kept.

Bank statements (3 latest months) or passbooks To prove financial self-sufficiency
Postsecondary transcript (current)
English proficiency transcript
Permanent Resident Card(s) Required by some embassies and consulates
☐ Local ID, student visa, or equivalent Foreign students to prove local residency required by some embassies and consulates
☐ Evidence that compels the participant to return home after the program Final year students and graduates especially; OEP students use the school letter and OEP acceptance letter; others consult with us

Bring them just in case. A consular officer may request any information and supporting documentation them deems relevant to establish the applicant’s qualification for the visa. There is no definitive number of documents to prepare. As a general rule, the more the documents, the better.

☐ Relationship proof If applicable, that matches the Participant Application panel
Postsecondary transcript (previous) If applicable
Student ID
School letter OEP students please also bring your OEP acceptance letter (original)
☐ Support letter by designated sponsor Download from your FUSIA online panel
Certificate of insurance
The goal of the visa interview is to elicit information to help determine individual applicants’ eligibility for a visa. To ace the interview, be prepared, ensure no errors, bring all the documents, and do your homework.

Do your homework. Common questions are regarding the program and internship/living/travel plans, e.g., whether you receive a stipend or not and where are you staying. Study and be prepared to answer questions taken from your Form DS-160, Form DS-7002, and Know Your Rights booklet. You could fail your interview for a simple mistake which can also result in future applications being disqualified.

Interview 101. First impressions can mean a lot. Dress properly and be on time. Bring only a purse or small plastic folder with the required documents and some cash with you (in case you have to retake the photo). Officers commonly put emotions aside and grant visas to deserving applicants who can answer the questions with confidence. Answer the questions clearly, directly, and confidently. No lengthy or wishy-washy answers. Be natural; stay calm and confident. Do not argue with the officer.

Be well prepared. There is no algorithmic approach for a consular officer to pass an interview. Some officers ask detailed questions; some ask simple questions. Don’t be less prepared because another student tells you that the interview is easy. Practice beforehand but don’t attempt to recite. And keep your answers brief as each interview generally lasts three to five minutes.

Keep it simple and be organized. Each officer only has a minute or two to greet you, ask you a few questions, flip through your passport, and write down a few words to describe why your visa is issued or refused. That’s a lot to do in a limited time. If a denial decision is made, it will be too late to explain. Hence, bring all the original documents but organize them properly (use color tags, a cover checklist, dividers, etc.) so that you can promptly pull it out when asked.

Use the right terms. Familiarize yourself with the terminology and language used, e.g., you are an “exchange visitor” or “J-1 intern” for a “work-based learning or internship program.” The J-1 intern visa is a “nonimmigrant” visa. J-1 internships are not for ordinary employment purposes. The company you intern for is your “host.” Avoid words such as “work” or “employment.”
The following “mock interview” questions are for rough reference only. Don’t memorize the questions blindly. Put yourself into the interviewer’s shoes. If you were the interviewer, what questions would you ask to detect fraudulent answers. Log on to your FUSIA online panel to view sample (populated) answers.

• What school do you go to? I am attending ... Answer accordingly
• What do you study? I study ... Answer accordingly
• Why are you applying for the visa? To “intern” in the States don’t say “work”
• How do you know FUSIA? Through my school... Answer accordingly
• What is your relationship with FUSIA? FUSIA is my program sponsor Answer accordingly
• What visa are you applying for? J-1 Intern visa Answer accordingly

• What will you be doing? I will be interning at ... Study your DS-7002 in advance
• How do you know your host? Through my school Answer accordingly
• What does it do? It is a company... Answer accordingly
• Where is it located? It is located in ... Answer accordingly
• Do you receive a stipend? Yes. per ... Answer accordingly

• Why did you choose this organization? Explain in 1-2 sentences
• How is your internship related to your study and career goals? Shorten it
• What is the name of your supervisor? Answer accordingly
• What is his/her title? Answer accordingly
• What do you do there? I will be... Abstracts from your Form DS-7002 in 1-2 sentences

Other questions
• Tell me about your previous visits in the the US. Answer accordingly
• Where will you live in the US? Answer accordingly based on Form DS-160
• What do you plan to do after (or aside from) your internship? Answer accordingly
• Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? Yes/no Answer accordingly
• What is the three-digit emergency code in the US? 911
• What the human right booklet is about? Answer accordingly
• Can you summarize the booklet in 1-3 lines? Answer accordingly

Financial and supporting documents
• Who pay for your internship? Answer accordingly
• What do your parents do? Answer accordingly
• Show me their financial statements. Present
• Do you have their tax statements? Present
• Can I see your transcripts? Present
May I get an earlier appointment date?
Yes, but the criteria vary by location. In Singapore, if the program will begin within 14 days when no regular visa appointments are available, expedite requests can be made on a case-by-case basis. Book the date first then submit your request using the Request Form or contact the Call Center. If your request is declined, log back in to see if you can find an earlier appointment (in case some cancel their appointment). Click HERE for details.

Should I apply for the Interview Waiver Program?
You may be given an option to submit your passport and other documents without an in-person interview. Generally, an in-person interview allows a better control of the time.

Should I call or email the embassy or consulate for questions?
If you can wait for 1-2 days, email them via the Request Form on their webpage and obtain a case number. If you want to speak to a live person, contact the Call Center. Expect a long wait time for the call to be answered.

What is the estimated wait time after paying the nonimmigrant visa MRV fee?
The estimated wait time to receive an interview appointment at a US embassy or consulate varies by location. Check visa appointment wait times.

May I use my previous USTRAVELDOCS profile?
Yes, if you have previously been to the US, please use your existing profile to schedule an appointment. If this is the first time you are applying, create a new USTRAVELDOC profile.

Do Canadian citizens need to pay the nonimmigrant visa MRV fee?
No, since Canada nationals do not require a US visa, they can skip the visa interview and nonimmigrant visa MRV fee. They are still required to pay the SEVIS fee .

When should I schedule my interview appointment?
You may complete the steps upon issuance of your SEVIS ID. However, wait until your Form DS-2019 package have arrived before confirming your appointment date and time.

How early should I get there?
If you plan to bring any large items such as your laptop to the interview, arrive 30 minutes ahead of schedule as you will be asked to walk over to a nearby premise or area to store your items in a locker for a small fee. Otherwise, arrive early, but not too much, as you may not be allowed entry before your scheduled appointment.

What if my parents can’t provide qualified proof of income?
If original tax forms are unavailable, bring original or certified copies of paystubs or the equivalent. If qualified proof of income, i.e., paystubs or tax forms, is unavailable, bring documents that serve similar purposes, e.g., an employment letter, investment account statements, proof of asset ownership/rental income, etc. Whether or not substitutes are acceptable is at the discretion of the consular officer who interviews you.

Are PRC students studying in Macau interviewed in Hong Kong?
Yes. They apply for their visas at the US consulate in Hong Kong. Be sure you have the proper visas to travel to Hong Kong at least one or two times.
Complete the USTRAVELDOCS profile, then pay and schedule the appointment. Log on to your FUSIA online panel to view sample (populated) answers. For reference only. Please adjust based on your own situation.

Passport Details

• Passport Number: See your passport or Form DS-2019
• Passport Issuance Date: See your passport
• Passport Issuance Place: See your passport
• Passport Expiration Date: See your passport
• First Name: See your passport
• Last Name: See your passport
• Date of Birth: See your passport (adjust the date format accordingly)
• Country of Birth: See your passport
• Nationality: See your passport
• Gender: See your passport
• DS 160 Confirmation #: See your Form DS-160 confirmation receipt

Contact Information (two phone numbers where you can be contacted)/b>

• Phone Number Answer accordingly
• Mobile Phone Answer accordingly
• Email: Answer accordingly

Student and Exchange Visitor Program Details

• SEVIS Number: See your Form DS-2019
• Exchange Number: See your Form DS-2019